The Arab Identity/The Orient

Islam, especially Sunni Islam has shaped the Arab nations for centuries. Unlike the nascent democracy of the western nations, Islam has been around longer. Islam also has no established distinctions between religion and state affairs. An Arab doesn't find this strange, they do not think in terms of gray areas. Obedience and submissiveness to certain state and religious ideals are natural to them. To be an Arab does not necessarily mean that you have to come from the Middle East. Or that you even have to be born into an Arab speaking community. Sometimes to speak the Arabic language, to gain enough proficiency as to be accepted into Arabic speaking circles, this in itself could make you Arab. By rule of thumb if you have an Arabic name and speak or use the Arabic language, then you are an Arab. Arabs are found all around the world, especially in African nations, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Arabia, and other countries. They belong to several nationalities. Iran is not considered an Arab nation. In a sense, this is a broad definition of what it means to be an Arab. Islam, more than any other religion is subject to the geopolitical movements of modern times. Shariah, the wholly Islamic concept of the rule of Islamic law, finds itself at odds with modern democratic ideals.

Women are more reserved and dress more modestly than in Europe and certain traditional values are held on to firmly in the Arab family unit. These differences more than anything has created a divide between the East and West and continues to shape the Oriental narrative to this day. Although the concept of the 'Orient' is something of the past, Arabs are still seen as people with one foot firmly placed in the past.